On the 190th anniversary of the annexation of Party of Nicoya (Guanacaste, as it was formerly known) to Costa Rica, let’s remember some of the historical events that marked this defining moment for Guanacaste and the country.
The Party of Nicoya was part of current Guanacaste. It included lands located between La Flor River and Nicaragua Lake. That area was very independent and usually responded, as to civil and administrative matters, to the Captaincy General of Guatemala.
By then, the Party of Nicoya identified with Costa Rica, due to its proximity and the possibility of trade through Puntarenas, Esparza, Bagaces, and Cañas. By 1821, this territory joined Costa Rica, as the country sought to account sufficient population to have a representative at Cádiz Courts. At that time, thanks to this population census, it was possible to appoint the priest Florencio del Castillo.
With the independence of Central America in 1821, the Party of Nicoya considered an invitation made by Costa Rica to annex its territory.
After deliberations, the Party of Nicoya, through an open council that brought its inhabitants together, accepted the invitation to annex to Costa Rica and indicated that schools should be created and they should provide protection to their lands, because, as indicated, they only had 26 broken rifles.
The Annexation Act was signed on July 25, 1824 by Manuel Cupertino Briceño, Nicoya Mayor, and aldermen Torivio Viales, Ubaldo Martinez, and Manuel García. The head of the Costa Rican government at the time was Juan Mora Fernández.
The annexation of Nicoya was also recorded in the Cañas-Jerez Treaty (1858). This document established that the territory of the Party was part of Costa Rica. Since July 25, 1825, the province’s maxim “From the Homeland, by Our Will” was written in the province’s emblem. Later, our country designated the Guanacaste tree as a national symbol. This tree is representative of the area, together with a great land wealth, coasts, nature and culture, traditions, music, and many other wonderful contributions that have shaped our national idiosyncrasy.
“The government of Costa Rica invited the people of Nicoya to discuss the union, by taking into consideration the benefits that would account for trade through the port of Punta de Arena (sic), the prompt administration of justice and the promotion of employments, the safety, quietness and political regime that would remain open under the demarcation of such state, as indicated by the nature and demands of public coexistence,” said the minutes of the annexation.